Friday, January 6, 2012

Buying deodorant

I've been using a Ukrainian deodorant that I like except that it goes bad when we return to the USA. The roll-on version dries up and the gel version melts in the container and dribbles out. Last time it dribbled out the bottom of the container and I replaced it with another of the same kind, which still looked OK when we returned to Minsk. I threw it into my gym bag a few days ago when I went down to lift weights. By the time I arrived at the gym, however, my toiletries were swimming in a gooey mass of deodorant which had leaked out the top of the bottle as I walked.

On the way home, I stopped at GUM and bought their last bottle of Dove Invisible Dry. Pleased to discover that I like the product, I decided to buy another bottle to use at home. In the USA, that would be easy. Pretty much any drug store in the country would offer the same array of product choices and if I didn't find what I wanted on the first try, I'd be pretty sure of success at the next store. Unfortunately, things work differently in Belarus. On my way to the central market I stopped in at a trade center with a huge array of little stores under one roof. I looked half-heartedly for my deodorant, but gave up half-way through the first floor because I imagined I'd find my product easily enough at the market.

I got to know the second floor of the marketplace really well, since I visited every stand as I looked for Dove products. Each stand featured a different product line, and the ones including Dove did not offer the version I wanted. Somewhere during this survey I remembered a lesson from a couple of years ago: If you find something you really like, buy extra because you may not find it again.

I decided to solve the problem by going downtown to the big stores. GUM still had not re-stocked after selling me their last bottle. The big toiletries outlet down the street offered other Dove products too, but not mine. I took the bus back home, hoping to get lucky at the big Euro pharmacy down the street from us. Unfortunately, luck eluded me there too.

The only real fortune in today's adventure came en route to the Euro pharmacy. As the bus rolled toward the circus, I phoned Alla to see if she'd gotten us any tickets yet to the winter show, which closes in another week. Since she had not, I jumped off the bus and asked what they had to offer. At first, my only choice was "VIP" seats in a loge far from the ring for three times the price of regular tickets. That location didn't sound so VIP to me, but I called Alla to see if she really-really wanted to see the show anyway. While I was on the phone, the ticket lady went to the back of the room. As I hung up, she motioned me back towards the window. "You just want two?" she asked. When I affirmed, she said that she'd just found me a pair. I got excellent seats in the fifth row at the regular price. I hope I can smell good by the time of the show.

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